By Uditha Jayasinghe
In response to allegations over land theft, the Government is planning on declaring all areas handed over to development in Parliament on 22 September.
Acting Cabinet Spokesman Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the media yesterday that the decision had been taken after many allegations of illegal land handovers by the Government.
“There has even been a story circulating that the President has given land to his doctor to build a hotel. There is no truth to all these stories. JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath has told the media that thousands of acres of land in Kalmunai, Pasikudah and other parts of the country have been given to private investors. We will clear all these issues in Parliament on 22 September,” he said.
The lands under controversy include the Kalpitiya islands as well as a host of other regions in the east. Pointing out that the road being built near Sinharaja is not endangering the forest, the Deputy Minister insisted that all development was being done according to the law.
“Currently there are allegations that the Government is destroying the Sinharaja forest. This is not true. A road spanning several kilometres is being built on its outer fringes. This is to assist the people of the area. The road was approved 20 years ago, but was never built; once completed it will halve the travel time for residents of that area.”